Aches & Pains in Children

When your child is obviously in pain, you’ll want to do all you can to help them. What may not be so obvious is what’s hurting and how you can help soothe it, but help is at hand.

From simple tips on working out the source of their pain to gentle but effective pain relief, there’s lots of ways you can ease their aches and put a smile on their face.

How do I know if my little one is in pain?

It can sometimes be tricky to tell where they are hurting, especially when they’re too small to really tell you, but there are a some of the signs to look out for.

  • unusual changes in their crying pattern or behaviour
  • withdrawal - they’re not their usual sunny self and are unresponsive to their surroundings
  • prolonged, intense crying .

Please note the above list is not exhaustive.

Your little one might also rub the area that feels like it hurts. Take your time to find out exactly where the pain is coming from –

  • a ‘sore head’ might mean they have ear ache, aching above the eyes, a blocked nose, or even a sore throat or be teething
  • if it’s the first time thy’ve ever had a feeling like that, it can be hard for your little one to describe
  • try asking them if they can point to where it hurts.

How can I help them feel better?

Cuddles go a long way, but when you’re in need of something extra, you can soothe your child’s pain with painkillers designed especially for children. Here are your options:


  • Are they mainly in pain?

  • Try a paracetamol-based medicine that gives them pain relief, like CALPOL® Infant Suspension. It's suitable for babies over over 2 months, weighing over 4kg and not premature.

  • Are they 6 years or older? You could try a paracetamol based product for older children, like CALPOL® SIXPLUS Suspension.

How long will it last?

How long the pain lasts will vary on the cause:

  • Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, and can last between 30 minutes and several hours.
  • pain caused by things like ear infections or teething pain may last for a few days.

When to call the doctor

Childhood aches and pains are very common – most children have them at some point and treating the underlying cause will soon help them feel better.
Consider taking your little one to the doctor or A&E though if:

  • they have severe or rapidly worsening pain in their stomach
  • an earache does not improve within a few days
  • headaches do not respond to treatment or your little one feels unwell in between headaches.
  • The information on this page is not exhaustive. You know your child best, if you have any concerns about your child, you should contact your GP


See also


How can you tell a cold from the flu? And what can you do to help your child feel better, whichever one has laid them low?

More about cold

CALPOL® Infant Suspension
CALPOL® Infant Suspension


Contains paracetamol
For babies and children aged 2 months to 6 years weighing more than 4kg and not premature.Tough on pain and fever. Gentle on the tummy.

Full product details

Contact the HSE

For health advice and reassurance.

1850 24 1850